As a freshman at the University of Florida in 1962, we had to take a reading and comprehension test and I made the 15th percentile of all freshmen. I had not written much in high school and I did not want to write much in college either so I majored in Electrical Engineering. We had to take subjects like Humanities and American Institutions which required a lot of reading and I struggled mightily with those. I just could not read fast enough and my comprehension was terrible. I was determined to not write any papers in college -- quite stupid as I look back on it, but this was a real fear for me and I gave in to it.
My first course in Electrical Engineering was early proof that I was not going to be a successful engineer either so I switched to Math, a subject that I was good, very good, but not great at. I did make it through college without writing any papers and stayed for graduate school in Math. I took every course but one for the PhD but somewhere in here I discovered Ceramics, got my Master's degree in Math, and began to study Ceramics. I did have to write a Master's thesis -- On the Structure of Pre-P-Rings -- a subject that I could not tell you one thing about today. Well maybe one but not much.
I went to graduate school in Ceramics at The University of South Florida in Tampa and got an MFA in 1972. I had to write a thesis -- Some Structural Possibilities for Smoked Raku -- and so I got 3 degrees writing only two papers. Ten years of college -- combined writing under 40 pages.
As I look back on this attitude I find it to be incredibly short sighted. It's very difficult for me to sit down and express myself and organize my thoughts in a cogent way. I also struggle with organizing my workday and the overall management of my time. It's about seeing the "forest" and the "trees" at the same time, and I tend to see one or the other, but not both. I think the two things -- that is: the inability to write and the inability to manage my time and resources -- are linked to a place in the mind which is just underdeveloped.
My wife Anne has a degree in English -- actually the subdegree is called "Creative Writing and Linguistics" from UF here and she is quite a talented writer. See an Example. She is also a good organizer and manager.
This blog is my first attempt to overcome this shadowy past. Hopefully the writing will improve as I become more practiced. But mostly I hope to achieve a new level of organization and consciousness through written expression.